FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has requested a New York decide to dismiss felony prices introduced in opposition to him following the collapse of the cryptocurrency trade final yr.
In a flurry of filings on Monday evening, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys put ahead a variety of defences, arguing that the 31-year-old was impermissibly charged with additional crimes following his extradition from the Bahamas in December, that a number of the allegedly unlawful transactions occurred exterior of the US and that marketing campaign contributions he made to political events have been authorized.
Final yr, US prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried of operating a “international scheme” to defraud prospects and lenders of FTX and affiliated hedge fund Alameda earlier than their collapse in November, when a multibillion-dollar gap was uncovered within the firm’s steadiness sheet.
He was initially charged with eight felony counts, together with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit cash laundering and conspiracy to violate marketing campaign finance legal guidelines, earlier than prosecutors added 5 extra counts together with securities fraud and conspiracy to violate anti-bribery legal guidelines by paying $40mn to allegedly influence Chinese officials.
The previous entrepreneur’s defence group has argued the costs are “imprecise and non-specific” and introduced in a “traditional rush to judgement . . . lower than a month after FTX’s chapter”.
Attorneys for Bankman-Fried, who had already pleaded not responsible to all the costs in opposition to him, mentioned he had moved to the Bahamas as a result of the legal guidelines governing cryptocurrencies have been clearer there, whereas within the US, “authorized uncertainty and ambiguity have been widespread”.
“Within the wake of the ‘crypto winter,’ the federal government, in hindsight, could dislike or disapprove of enterprise practices of the cryptocurrency trade, FTX, and even Mr. Bankman-Fried — however this doesn’t give it license to show them into federal crimes,” the filings mentioned.
In an try and “struggle these baseless prices and clear his title”, Bankman-Fried drafted within the assist of a British barrister, James Lewis KC, to attest that the extradition treaty between the US and the Bahamas, whose authorized system is predicated on English legislation, was violated when prosecutors added additional prices following his arrival on American soil.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys additionally complained that John Ray, a veteran of the Enron restructuring who took over as chief government of the bankrupt FTX, had “acted as a public mouthpiece for the federal government by persevering with to make disparaging remarks” concerning the defendant.
Ray testified to Congress in December that he had by no means “seen such an utter failure of company controls at each stage of an organisation”.
The manager had been “successfully deputised” by the federal government, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys claimed, “as federal brokers to assessment and synthesise the proof for them”. They accused FTX of waiving attorney-client privileges to supply info to prosecutors, whereas refusing to take action on subjects which may assist their shopper compile his defence.
A spokesperson for Ray and FTX debtors didn’t reply to a request for remark.
A trial within the felony case is scheduled for October, although Bankman-Fried’s attorneys have indicated they could ask for a postponement.
Three of Bankman-Fried’s former colleagues — Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang and Nishad Singh — have already pleaded responsible in connection to prices stemming from the collapse and agreed to co-operate with prosecutors.